Le Pain Quotidien, Los Angeles
When travelling, I really don’t enjoy eating breakfast out. I shouldn’t really be exposed to the public before I have a cup of coffee and trying to decide where to go before being caffeinated seems wrong. I also don’t ever want to pay for an exorbitant and too-heavy hotel breakfast. That’s why discovering Le Pain Quotidien on my recent trip to LA was a godsend. With twelve locations in LA, we hit their West Hollywood spot on Melrose Avenue for breakfast to discover a cute wood-clad café with a long central communal table and instantly I felt like I had been there before – and I had. I first discovered Le Pain Quotidien in London where they have quite a few outposts. The chain – which is now global with locations as far as Australia and the United Arab Emirates – was started by a man in Brussels who could not find the right bread for his restaurant so began a shop baking his own. As you might suspect, bread is a focus here and if you order an organic, soft-boiled egg (which is just what I did) it comes with a sampling of types all with a lovely crust and soft centre, perfect for dipping in yolk or sampling the jars of jam that are an accompaniment. I like that you can build your own breakfast with a bowl of berries, for example, or adding a pastry like apple-pear turnover or the classic pain au chocolat. Judging from the quality of their breakfast items, I’m looking forward to trying their lunch menu which boasts their signature Belgian open-faced sandwiches with classic combos like ham and aged Gruyère or salads like the Tuscan White Bean and Prosciutto with arugula. It’s reassuring to know that while Le Pain Quotidien is a chain, there is no compromise in ingredients or flavour – my breakfasts there felt wholesome and homey.
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